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Jenny is in perpetual search for easy, weeknight recipes to attempt to feed her family. When they balk, she just eats more.
Today: The perfect weeknight dinner, plus five tricks to make it even better.
Sometimes, I trick all of you. This is a weeknight cooking column, as you know, but there are weeks I force you to make birthday cakes and stews, hoping you won’t notice. But hey everyone, Orecchiette with Cauliflower, Breadcrumbs, Pancetta, and Pepitas is a total straight up weeknight recipe that puts your family right where you want them to be, which hopefully is NOT in front of DVRed “Dog with a Blog,” at the dinner hour.
Here are a few tips that you can ignore, but will slightly speed up this otherwise straightforward deal:
1. Trader Joe’s sells really good pepitas. I keep bags of them in the basement.
2. I buy pre-chopped pancetta. You don’t have to, but BOOM, saved ya five minutes.
3. I like panko bread crumbs. They are not fresh. But they are good.
4. I use my best best olive oil, saved for such dishes. If you come to my house and attempt to cook with it I will become very angry and passive aggressively hide your scarf. “Was the scarf orange, you say? Gee, I never saw it.”
5. Re-heats okay-ish one day later. No more.
Makes 8 cups of pasta
1 1/2 pounds cauliflower, broken into bite sized pieces
1 pound of orecchiette (if unavailable use conchiglie or cavatelli)
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup of good olive oil
3 thick slices of pancetta, cut into small dice
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 lemon wedge
1/2 cup grated Pecorino
1/2 cup chopped parsley
Photo by James Ransom